Sunday, January 30, 2011

Angry Birds Rio

In a brilliant move, Fox have teamed up with Rovio to create a new version of the smash hit mobile game Angry Birds, to promote their new animated film Rio.

The new version of Angry Birds comes out in March, the film in April.  This is an excellent way of driving both the awareness of the film, and its coolness with the audience.

More at the Rovio blog

Excellent work!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Case studies of promoted tweets

A fascinating blog post from Mongoose Metrics in December details some of their experiences as beta testers of promoted tweets.

You can see that they were buying terms like #JustinBieber to promote their own pages, for example.  (This is the page the link clicked through to).  Bidding oin terms is competitive, starting at $0.10 per engagement, where an engagement is defined as a retweet, a reply, a favourite or a click.

Read the post here, but the bottom line of their results in November and December was:

961,000 Tweet Impressions
18,000 Clicks
168 Replies
126 Conversions
Cost = $2067


$2.15 cpm on impressions 
$0.11 cpc for the clicks
$2.15 cpa for the conversions
$0.11 cost per engagement (very similar to the CPC, as clicks are by far the most common engagement - I find that with my tweets too).

See also their 10 lessons from promoted tweets

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Facebook's Sponsored Stories & the dangers of sentiment analysis

Facebook has announced that it is introducing Sponsored Stories - essentially things relating to brands that you have written, amplified by the brands, and placed in the right hand side ad box by Facebook.

Initial trial advertisers are Coke, Levi's, Anheuser Busch and Playfish, plus nonprofits like Donors Choose, Girl Up!, Malaria No More, Amnesty International, Women for Women, Autism Speaks, (RED), Alzheimer's Association and UNICEF.

I can see this being very controversial, and I also think that there will be teething troubles early on.  [Edit - it specifically refers to things like checkins for deals, rather than general status messages]  If the brand pays to put a status relating to them in the ad box, how sure are they that it's a positive statement?  I do quite a lot of work with buzz tracking companies, and none of them has yet managed to show me that they can identify positive and negative sentiment correctly.  E.g.  "Sitting on a plane for an hour with no air conditioning.  I love Ryanair!" is always interpreted as positive.

I suspect that there are going to be lots of LOLs early on as brands inadvertently promote negative sentiments!

More info here.

Orange's Winter Warmers

Nicely illustrating one of my trends for this year, Orange's new initiative has the brand behaving in a very human fashion.

"The cold. The dark. Winter’s gloomy sometimes isn’t it? So we’ve come up with a little plan to help you cheer up your best mates and give yourself a nice warm glow.

Send a winter warmer to a friend - tweet #WinterWarmer with your friend’s name or Twitter name. We’ll ask you for their address and race over to your mate with a van full of hot chocolates and scarves.

Follow us on Twitter to find out when we’re out and about in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Brighton delivering scarves and hot chocolate to your grumpy chums."

(Yes, it's vaguely similar to last year's KLM Surprise)

If you know someone who needs cheering up (Andy Gray?  Richard Keys?), nominate them to Orange here, and see the twitter action here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Morgan Spurlock & product placement

Following on from yesterday's post about Kevin Smith's new model of film distribution comes Morgan Spurlock's model of film financing.  Spurlock's new film The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is all about product placement, and has been paid for... by product placement from companies like JetBlue Airways, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Sheetz Convenience Stores, POM Wonderful, and MINI.

While this is clearly a one-off stunt, I do think that low-budget film makers will increasingly do deals relating to sponsorship and product placement to get the films made.

More information here; it opens in the US in April, so I'm hoping it'll be opening in Europe in the summer.  I hope the film is good, as it's a fascinating subject.

I've joined the mailing list, and the first email told me that they want to use the people on the mailing list to help to promote the film, so I'm looking forward to more details of that!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kevin Smith's Red State - a Radiohead moment?

Film director Kevin Smith yesterday showed his new film Red State at the Sundance film festival, and then announced that he was going to distribute and market the film himself.

In his speech he said that the film had cost approximately $4m to make, and instead of spending something like $20m to advertise it, he'd take it on a preview tour to cover this cost, before releasing it nationally in America in October.

Initial dates announced:

March 5th – Radio City Music Hall
March 6th – Wilbur Theater in Boston
March 8th – Harris Theater in Chicago
March 9th – State Theater in Minneapolis
March 10th – Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor
March 11th – Indianapolis, IN
March 12th - Midland Theater, Kansas City
March 14th – Springfield, OH
March 22nd – Paramount Theater, Denver
March 26th - McCalister theater, New Orleans
March 28th – Paramount Theater, Austin
March 29th – Cobb Energy Center, Atlanta
April 4th – McCaw Hall in Seattle

He's releasing through his own company, Smodcast Pictures, and hopes that this will become a new model for film distribution.  He's now selling merchandise on his site to pay for the prints of the film.

I think that this is a really interesting step, and has lots of parallels with what Radiohead did in 2007.

1 - Kevin Smith is a very recognised brand.  He has over 1.7m followers on twitter, he's very outspoken, and he has a clear constituency of fans.  The new film Red State is a film about right wing fundamentalists, and so it seems as much of a sure thing as any film these days.  Kevin Smith can do this, just as Radiohead could do it; but it wouldn't work in the same way for a new film maker.

2 - The world has changed, and artists can often see this and exploit it more easily than large companies.  Smith isn't going to give the film away for free, but what he can do is sell lots of tickets directly, and cheaply.  Why spend a lot to advertise to a general audience, when you can do so very cheaply (remember the 1.7m twitter followers) to a very focussed group of people.  Similarly Radiohead knew that the distribution model for music had changed, and had no stake (employees, departments) in maintaining the old model.

3 - You can make other deals later, when the film is a hit.  So far nothing has been said about overseas distribution.  My guess is that he'll do the tour in March, then use the revenues and buzz generated to start negotiating with foreign distributors. Radiohead sold the CD rights to a studio after the album had created a massive stir online; on CD it still got to number one, despite the fact that it was legally available as a free download.

4 - Kevin Smith is innovating, but only in the scale of what he's doing.  Films have gone on tour before, for example Anvil in 2009, but this is probably the first time that a major drama film has done it.  Similarly Radiohead's innovation was that it was done on a massive scale.

5 - The fame will be self-perpetuating.  I can already see both the column inches, and the TV news items, something that hasn't happened for a Kevin Smith film for a long time.

As it's only cost $4m Red State is poised to be a very successful film.  Whether the model is reliable, or even repeatable remains to be seen.

Friday, January 21, 2011

YouTube webcam game for Sochi

The Russian city of Sochi is hosting the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in 2014.

As part of their promotion they've produced this very clever YouTube game.

When you first load the page you see a video, a bit like The Expendables and other 'takeover' examples, but then if flips round to give you a skiing game that you can play with your webcam or the buttons on your keyboard.

Play here

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How rumours spread on twitter

Earlier today a rumour that there was a gunman at large in Oxford Street spread around London.  This seems to be how it happened.

A fashion assistant for the online store ASOS was trying to recruit bystanders for a photo shoot that was going to happen, and she at tweeted at 11.17am:

Unfortunately some people who saw the tweet misunderstood, and the message started to get garbled, including:

"Shooting in progress in Oxford Circus? What?" - 11.20 am

"Gun alert on oxford circus right now? is it true?" - 11.25am

"Gunman loose in Oxford Circus?" - 11.26am

"is there a shooting in Oxford Circus right now???? this is what i'm hearing" - 11.26

"shooting in oxford circus - talk of the office. True or Hoax?" - 11.27am

"@BBCBreaking @SkyNews is there a shooting at oxford circus right now, that what i'm hearing. or is it a hoax email i've got??" - 11.27am

"Apparently theres a shooting at Oxford Circus, gunmen on the move. We've been told to stay in. Guess I'm not gonna have McDonalds lunch then" - 11.28am

"Shooting in progress in Oxford Circus, stay safe people." - 11.28am

& so on...

(Full grabs and list of tweets here)

'Oxford Circus' became a trending topic, news channels and the police investigated...  It's easy to see how these rumours start, but luckily twitter was also able to spread the denial very quickly too.

Next Generation Media Quarterly - January 2011

I've just posted my new quarterly presentation to Slideshare (it seems to get a little more delayed each time...) so please have a look at what is effectively a summary of this blog and my 'stats' blog for October - December 2010.

Next Generation Media Quarterly January 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Your Mom Hates This

This is a very clever campaign for the game Dead Space 2.

They've got a film of 'moms' at a focus group screening, they've encouraged people to upload videos of their own mothers, a promoted trend on twitter, and they've got the url

Not sophisticated, but probably quite effective!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Google's Babelfish

Translation seems to be an area of innovation at the moment, through mobile apps.  Quest Visual launched their app Word Lens just before Christmas, and now Google have updated their Translate app.

Google's update means that the app translates speech, as speech - so you talk to it, and it comes out with the same phrase in another language, or it listens to a phrase and repeats it in your own language.  It only dies English and Spanish at the moment, and it seems buggy as anything, but give it a few months and we could get something truly essential for travelers.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mucking about

One thing that never ceases to delight me about digital media is people's ability and ingenuity in using it to much about.

Two examples:

Google image search (& Flickr).  Intended to serious things, but at some point someone decided to take a picture of his or her head in a fridge, and tag it with the number 241543903.  If you do an image search on this number you find a baffling amount of photos of other people with their heads in their fridges.

Quora.  Quora is the latest thing everyone seems to be talking about.  It is short for QUestion OR Answer, and it's an online forum where people post questions, and answer those left by other people.  At the moment it's ferociously dull, with endless questions about 'what's the business model for this?' and 'which startup is best for that?'.  But... now it looks like people are starting to much about with Quora too - as evidenced by this question.


Be playful everyone!

Monday, January 10, 2011

10 Business Models that Rocked 2010

This is a really good presentation from the Board of Innovation.

I don't agree with all of it; specifically Gap didn't get $11m from their deal with Groupon (chart 12); the $11m was the total revenue to Gap and Groupon.

Having said that, there are lots of great examples from companies like Flattr, Humble Bundle, and Quirky, with the business model clearly explained.

Hat tip - Neil Perkin's weekly newsletter Fish Food (sign up box on the right hand side)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Intel 'Chase'

This is an excellent new ad to promote the new 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor.

(The screen shot you get when you embed the video slightly gives the game away, sadly)

Very clever, and a little bit inspired by Lisbeth Salander, don't you think?

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The 8pen

The 8pen is an attempt to re-define how people type on touchscreen phones.

They argue that the qwerty keyboard is unsuited to touchscreen, and they're right.  The qwerty keyboard was designed to be quite slow to use, so letters were deliberately put in places that would make it harder to type common words.  For example, it would be useful to have the letters T, H and E next to each other (the most common word in the English language), but in the days of old typewriters this would have meant that people would have been hitting the keys too fast and tangling up the mechanism.  (Although you can argue that because it's relatively random, the qwerty keyboard is similar in all countries using standard type sets).

Watch the 8pen video:  Their idea is good, and definitely worth trying.

This might not be the solution to the qwerty problem, but well done to them for proposing it.

So far The 8pen is only available for Android - you can read more about how to get it here.

Gaga knows how to market an album

I love this - Lady Gaga announced her new single and album on 1st January (sorry - just catching up) by sharing this picture of herself via twitter & twitpic, just wearing a jacket saying Born This Way, the name of the single and album, plus the release dates.

SpaceJam back to 1996

SpaceJam is a film made in 1996, starring Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes characters.

At some point in late December someone noticed that the site was still live - and it's a lovely relic of how the web used to be.

See the site here - and enjoy very basic functionality, animation sketches, a screen saver, a kids' section, and of course, a site map.

I have no idea why Warner Bros are still paying to keep the site live, but I'm glad they are!

Via Metafilter (read the discussion for a more techy take on the design)
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